Virginia politics, policy and entertainment from the Greater Richmond-Washington Metro Area perspective.

OK, here’s the deal. Postmortem.

A few observations for my fellow soul-searching conservatives today.

1. America is an idea, not a country. As long as that idea lives, America will live on. We have a shot.

2. This wound up being a 2 point national race, wherein Romney lost every swing state by a very close margin. So clearly calls to disband the GOP are overreaction (sorry, DJ!).

3. The real lesson from this election: it’s not just the message, it’s not just that the other candidate sucks. It’s that the quality of your candidate matters! This is the biggest lesson the TEA Party must learn. They have been cozying up to every looney tune who claims to be a conservative, without actually considering if that person could articulate conservative principles to a broader audience effectively. Consider the graveyard of TEA party candidates who have been amateurish and caused the American people to associate the term “TEA Party” with “low-quality candidate”: O’Donnell, Miller, Mack, Angle, Akin, Mourdock, McMahon, Mandel, Berg, Rehberg, Buck, etc etc etc. Those 11 races that were thrown away would result in a resounding Senate majority right now if conservatives had nominated better quality candidates. It’s not enough that you want a more conservative candidate. You have to also want a GOOD candidate. And recruitment for 2014 starts NOW. Romney didn’t define himself nor detail his plans for what he would do better. This was a tragic mistake.

4. Sandy killed us here. A friend of mine said that Obama’s shtick is that his whole career, he has been living by ungodly luck. I believe this. 2 weeks ago, Romney wins this going away, by 5 points. Sandy allowed him to stop Romney’s momentum and appear presidential. Now he has to clean up the mess of course, but the timing was ideal for him. Enough to sway maybe 3% of the voting public, which might have been enough.

5. Local GOP leadership matters! We are so far behind on grassroots and turnout operations, it’s not even funny. And then you had messy, internal party squabbles that turned people off. Nevada and Ohio were the worst ones, but not the only ones. Good local GOP leaders were targeted here in VA this year, and replaced in many cases by well-meaning but incompetent newcomers who slowed down the actual grassroots operations to make a point. Congratulations, you made your point- we lost, and you didn’t help.

Case in point: Spotsylvania. GW Bush pulled 64% of Spotsy in 2004. This year, Romney pulled a pedestrian 55%, while there was buffoonery aplenty and amateur hour with two precincts invalidating hundreds of votes and disenfranchising hundreds more because they couldn’t get their act in order. Where was the local GOP leadership? Incompetent, ignorant, timid, absent. When hundreds of voters were turned away while the precincts got their act together, the local GOP should have petitioned the court to allow the polls to stay open an extra hour or two in those two precincts. Yet they did not. Local party leadership matters, and it matters in tangible, real ways for which those people must be held accountable.

And to the Ron Paul folks- I’m not singling you out per se. I’m saying, it’s not enough just to want the positions for philosophical reasons. You actually have to perform in them in competent ways, and if you do not, you should not be in them. That goes for everyone.

6. Here in the Commonwealth, the only area of the state that overperformed compared to 2008 was coal country, SW VA. Those people know their jobs and livelihoods are on the line. Maybe we can re-annex West Virginia?

7. If you are a Republican or conservative candidate, and anyone ever asks you about what you think of rape, for the love of God, the only acceptible response is, “Rape is deplorable and I condemn it, and sympathize with its victims”. Anything else, and we will shoot you. Seriously. Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, it is entirely possible you cost Mitt Romney this election!

8. I am going to petition Obama for the government to give out Saganaki and Rodidas, because if we are going to become Greece then I at least want to enjoy the cuisine!

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27 Responses to “OK, here’s the deal. Postmortem.”

  1. KFD4EDU

    ALL of #3 is the exact opposite of reality and the very reason why GOP can’t and won’t get the act together. So keep on, seems like you’ve got it all figured out.

  2. Anonymous

    So many simple yet profound points here but I’ll comment on one, the GOP has for years here in Virginia ignored its biggest asset, its locally elected conservative leaders who are the touch points, one on one for constituency. These are the guys, women and men that go to church with voters, who shop with them in the local grocery store and sit with them at Rurtian meetings and fish frys, communicating and talking about whats important to folks. This untapped asset is already CONNECTED, they don’t need to phone bank, knock on doors or attend rallys when the candidates come to town to energize the base. But they are guys who can tell you where the new subdivision is or what the PTA just met about thats important to local parents. How many lists do you think exist at RPV of leaders all over Virginia who consistently win local Republican elections even in Democratic Counties? None Until Republicans understand the meaning of the word Grass roots we will keep losing presidential elections from the top down instead of winning them from the ground up.

    • Riley

      Sadly, most of the GOP local electeds in PWC (BOCS members Corey Stewart and Pete Candland being the exceptions) did diddly squat to help out Romney.

  3. Lovettsville Lady

    Blaming this on the Tea Party is ridiculous. How ’bout we put the blame on those who voted for Obama, the 50% who want more ‘free stuff’! I fully support “Taxed Enough Already”!

    • spotsyhoya

      I wasn’t blaming the TEA Party, in fact I want them more involved but you can’t just back any idiot who says they are the most conservative, but who might be an incompetent candidate. We need conservatives fir sure, but better quality candidates too. Ted Cruz in TX is an ideal model. Or Deb Fischer in NE. Or Sen. Ron Johnson in WI. Or Sen. Paul.

  4. Riley

    Charles Krauthammer had a good analysis:

    “Romney was the only one remotely presidential, and he was the logical candidate,” Krauthammer said. “But think of those who didn’t run. There’s of course, Paul Ryan who I think will be a leader in the party. You have a whole rising young generation — Kelly Ayotte, you’ve got Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, Ted Cruz, the new senator from Texas, Marco Rubio, this whole generation who a just a year or two short in their careers from running this time are all going to be in the fray next time. And I think they are the future. And all the soul-searching about what ideology we are going to pursue is going to come from them. And I think it will be a fairly Reaganite and conservative one. I think the future of the party is quite bright.”

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/07/krauthammer-obama-has-no-mandate-gop-future-quite-bright-video/#ixzz2BZ1asXLh

  5. Anonymous

    As a follow up to my above post. How in the world do you expect to attract minorities, especially blacks, when you put up a candidate who is actively involved in a religion which has historically been racist toward black people. Wake up people! There are a lot of black conservatives out there but when you nominate someone whose religion has in the past taught that black people are wicked do you really think they’re going to vote for him?

    • spotsyhoya

      So despite the fact we are supposed to have freedom of religion here, no one of the Mormon faith can ever be president? What about those who follow Rev. J. Wright, who thought white people were the source of all evil? Are they barred for religious reasons? Ultimately, there is a freeze here on racial issues that must be addressed as a society, not by party affiliation.

    • Anonymous

      spotsyhoya, just keep living in your fantasy world. There’s a big difference between an isolated church, which Obama did distance himself Wright, and a whole religion that has historically taught that black people are wicked. Read the article I posted. I’m sure you won’t because you want to live in your fantasy.

    • spotsyhoya

      Well, I guess we can agree to disagree, but if you are going to drag out “historically” instead of looking at what the REALITY is now, then a lot of assumptions change. I don’t see that as helpful. Ultimately, you may like another group of people or you may not, but we are all here together now and no one is going anywhere so we have no choice but to learn how to be one nation together. No choice. All your provocative talk of “historically” does is get in the way of a peaceful or prosperous future.

    • Anonymous

      spotsyhoya, just read the USA article I posted. They hit the nail on the head with this Republican candidate. Even his father had the same trouble.

  6. JP

    There is zero evidence that #4 is true. In fact, ALL of the reputable polling evidence points to the fact that Romney began losing ground well before the hurricane struck. I applaud your goal of trying to help us do some soul-searching, but continuing to deny basic facts and the predictive power of demonstrably effective polling methodologies in favor of a simple-minded story (Obama just has such great luck!) will keep us stuck in this losing position for a long time to come.

    • spotsyhoya

      JP, the day before Sandy hit Romney was up 5 in Gallup and up 4 in Rasmussen. Those were pretty steady leads. Even if you take into account a 2.5% bump in Obama’s numbers for having a better turnout operation, we still win. So Sandy did indeed have a profound effect. Not with everyone but with a small sliver.

  7. The Derecho

    “Blaming this on the Tea Party is ridiculous. How ’bout we put the blame on those who voted for Obama, the 50% who want more ‘free stuff’! I fully support “Taxed Enough Already”!”

    And therein lies the problem, there is enough blame to go around and everyone needs to accept their share. Can you put the onus on “those who voted for Obama, the 50% who want more ‘free stuff’” absolutely but the vast majority weren’t going to vote for your candidate anyway so the more appropriate congratulating them because they WON.

    No, its time for the GOP to engage in some pragmatism and self-contemplation. You want to assign blame for losses in recent elections, go ahead assign your percentages, some goes to the bat-shit crazy portion of the Tea-Party, some to the bat-shit crazy portion of the Fundamentalist wing, some goes to the socially bat-shit crazy electeds ie: Bob Marshall (still love you Del. Bob) , some goes to the wet-behind-the-ears, know-it-all campaign managers and operatives who never held a real job in their lives, some goes to the bat-shit crazy conservative bloggers, and shit load goes to the bat-shit crazy, entrenched and often corrupt leadership ie: RPV. You want to change the dynamic, change the players or its just going to be more of the same.

    • spotsyhoya

      Here’s the problem with calling every component of the GOP coalition crazy: you can make a solid case that every component of the Dem coalition is also crazy. They just happen to convince a few more people (within the margin of error) this time.

  8. The Derecho

    I’m not calling every component of the GOP coalition crazy, I’m just calling out the bat-shit crazy element of each component, the element that consistently fails to understand when its time shut up and cut their losses or over-reaches and causes the GOP to effectively step on its dick.

    I love Del. Bob to death, but right, wrong or indifferent, his bills last session didn’t do Romney any favors. From a pragmatic standpoint, he would have done the party much more good had he waited until this year to offer them.

  9. JP

    Mr. Spotsyhoya: Again, you would do well to begin to attend more seriously to how polling and statistics work. Gallup and Rasmussen were known outliers. The way to understand the race and cancel out that noise (on both sides, mind) was through looking at polling aggregators in national and (especially) state level polls. To just look at Rasmussen and Gallup is to simply cherry-pick the polls that suit your narrative. And I’m saying this is precisely the problem. Thank you for making my case for me.

    • spotsyhoya

      First, you can call me Steve.

      Second, Both of those polls were within the MOE for the election results. Both were off by exactly 2.5%. So subtract that, and the point still holds. At that point before Sandy, Romney was up 1 in the RCP aggregator. That included one outlier (TIPP) that had Obama up 3. After Sandy, the aggregator had Obama up 1.5. The point holds.

  10. Glen Caroline

    No doubt, yesterday we got beat. It is now time to evaluate why we got beat and adapt, adjust, and overcome. The paradigm of the past that we all hope would continue is gone. It is a new day and age. Victory in future elections must factor in an incontrovertible fact–the math to accomplish victory has changed. What we must prove to more Americans outside our traditional base is why our policies are better for them than our opponents, and find the messenger who can best deliver that message. Sea changes don’t happen overnight, nor does rolling back those sea changes. It is a new day in America, whether we like it or not. Now the question becomes how do we adapt and adjust to deliver principled victories? I like to win, and now we must find a formula to do so.

  11. James

    Romney and the GOP shot themselves in the foot with the starter pistol by alienating and ridiculing the very people they needed to win this race. They got exactly what the deserved and asked for. If Ron Paul had been the nominee a republican would be going to the White House now.

  12. JP

    No, sorry, the point doesn’t hold. Once again, you’re cherry-picking. The 538 aggregator clearly shows a slow but steady rise for Obama beginning well before the hurricane (around October 14th). What it DOESN’T show is a dramatic spike in his polling right after the hurricane, and thus nothing that take the election from Romney winning “going away” to an Obama victory.

    Did the hurricane have some effect on the race? Probably some, sure. But was it a pivotal race-changing effect? No way. Just not true.

    The point doesn’t hold.

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